Growing agribusiness entrepreneurs in East Africa

by Agripreneurship Alliance
Growing agribusiness entrepreneurs in East Africa
Feb 24, 2022

Update on the Agripreneurship Alliance

In early November the opportunity of a brief window in the COVID-19 pandemic was seized to organise an in-person Training of Trainer event in Uganda. This course provided the opportunity for universities who had not previously participated in face-to-face training as well as new trainers. Thus, Jaramogi Odinga Oginga University of Science & Technology (JOOUST Kenya), the University of Bukavu (UOB DRC), Uganda Christian University (UCU Kenya) and University of Namibia (UNAM) were offered two places each and from Uganda: Gulu, MUBS, BSU, Laikipia in Kenya and ISTUS in Somaliland one place each. This was a significant investment for the Agripreneurship Alliance with total cost being approximately US$25,000 for the 13 participants and the 3 Trainers. We were delighted to welcome the new partners, UCU & UNAM, to the Entrepreneurship in Agribusiness family. The week was very successful and proved to be a powerful learning experience. The programme focused on introducing the course, exploring the potential to reinforce the social and environmental impact, which was particularly pertinent as this was run in parallel to COP26. Specific training elements included an ideation session delivered by an expert in design and creativity, a lengthy focus on the online platform supported by the African Management Institute and an in-depth consideration of the finance tool. Importantly the week was designed with a very interactive programme, with much engagement, activities, and exercises. This provided the opportunity to embed an experiential learning methodology across the participants and enabling the development of a strong personal and professional network. The week finished with each participant facilitating a short session from the course with the others role playing as students. This was followed by in-depth reflection and review and the opportunity to analyse two business plans to allow an understanding of the opportunities and challenges of the business plans and how they can be strengthened and improved. It was gratifying to find that participants gave the week a rating of 4.7 out of a total five – the main comment being that it should be extended to 2 weeks!

We are in the final stages of the registration of the Agripreneurship Alliance as an official international NGO in Uganda. Once the final approval is obtained, we will open an Agripreneurship Alliance office in the facilities of the CURAD Agribusiness Incubator on the outskirts of Kampala.

In early December we organised a part physical, part virtual, Side Event at the RUFORUM triennial conference in Benin (the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building is a consortium of 143 African universities from 38 countries across the African continent). The side event was entitles ‘’Evaluating the impact of the ‘Entrepreneurship in Agribusiness Training’ and included presentations from our partner universities as well as the University of Abomey-Calvi in Benin and the University of the Free State in South Africa. Other speakers included a Venture Capitalist speaking on the need for Governments to develop policies and regulatory frameworks that create enabling environments. Two young entrepreneurs from Uganda spoke about their own journeys, developing and growing SME businesses within the value addition (hygiene products) and coffee sectors. The event was summed up pertinently by the event chair, Dr. Basil Mugonola (Gulu). He raised three key areas that the university and wider sectors, need to consider when promoting entrepreneurship in general and supporting young African agri-entrepreneurs in particular:

  1. The vital need for partnerships on a south-south and a south-north basis. These promote knowledge, increase capacity, enable resourcing of initiatives, and assist in the creation of entrepreneurial eco-systems within and across the African food system.
  2. The importance for entrepreneurs, and others, to ‘Act local and think global’. This is crucial, entrepreneurs should be aware of the challenges that face the communities of which they are a part, food insecurity, changing climate, gender inequality and poverty, seek to create businesses that create a good future for themselves, but also support their communities as an integral part of their business model, while at the same time, seeing the connections and potential for their businesses on a much larger scale.
  3. Connectivity is key, relationships should be developed and enhanced to move away from ‘silo thinking’ and to capture the potential in developing multi-disciplinary approaches, bringing strengths from different sectors to create the answers needed to address fundamental issues.
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Agripreneurship Alliance

Location: Montreux - Switzerland
Website:
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Twitter: @Agripreneurship Alliance @the_agripreneur
Project Leader:
Anne Roulin
Montreux, Switzerland
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